News in Brief: June 2014BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/sbmj.g3547 (Published 30 May 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3547
13 year old can consent to abortion
A High Court judge has ruled that a 13 year old girl is able to consent to a termination of pregnancy, allowing an NHS trust to proceed with the procedure on the basis of her consent.
The girl, referred to only as A, became pregnant when she was 12. She sought an abortion as she thought she would not be able to cope carrying on with the pregnancy, she explained to the psychiatrist who assessed her capacity.
The unnamed NHS trust sought a declaration from the High Court that A had the capacity to decide for herself or, if she did not, that it would be in her best interests to proceed with the termination. They wished to remove any uncertainty from their position and robustly deflect any possible criticism later on.
Teenagers over the age of 16 are able to consent to medical treatment. Below …